By Catherine McCord
Thanksgiving is my favorite meal hands down. When I’m planning dinner for our family, I attempt to make everyone’s favorite dish for them. For me, that’s roasted Brussels Sprouts , for my father-in-law it’s Maple Turkey, and for the kids it’s Orange Glazed Carrots. I like to keep the recipes simple and easy to ensure I spend as little time in the kitchen and as much time enjoying my family as possible.

mapleturkeyMaple Brined Turkey (Makes 10-12 Servings)

Water1 Cup
Maple Syrup1 Cup
Salt (preferably kosher)1
12-14 Pound Turkey (defrosted if frozen)
1 Orange
1 Onion

Star Anise1-2 Tbsp
Vegetable or Canola Oil

  1. Place the maple syrup and salt in 4 cups of hot water. Stir until the salt dissolves.
  2. Place the maple syrup mixture in a large stock pot with a gallon of cold water, the juice of the orange, the orange halves (once juiced, of course), the onion, cloves, peppercorns, and star anise and stir to combine.
  3. Wash the turkey inside and out (putting aside the neck and liver to make gravy) and place breast side down in the stockpot with the brine (you want the brine to just cover the turkey).
  4. Refrigerate 18 hours to 2 days. (Or, you can set it in a cool safe place outdoors as long as it’s below 55 degrees outside).
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  6. Take the turkey out of the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water, discarding brine.
  7. Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a wide low pan and blot the turkey with a paper towel.
  8. Tuck back the wings (or cover with small pieces of foil) and rub the skin of the turkey with the oil.
  9. Roast on the lowest rack of the oven for 30 minutes and then place a piece of foil just over the breast of the turkey to cover (the breast cooks faster then the legs and wings so this process helps it to cook more evenly).
  10. Pour 1 cup of water in the pan, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast 1 hour.
  11. Remove the foil from the breast, turn the pan so the other side of the breast is towards the back of the oven (most oven’s heat comes from the back, so turning it prevents overcooking) and cook for another hour to 90 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the deepest part of the thigh (avoiding the bone) until you reach a temperature of 160-165 degrees. The turkey will actually continue to cook a bit more even after you take it out of the oven (the total cooking time in the oven will be 2 1/2-3 hours total).
  12. Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes (this is an essential step to allow the juices to redistribute and settle).13. Slice and serve with gravy or Cranberr-Wee-Sauce.

Orange Glazed Carrots (Makes 6 Big Kid Servings)

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Lb Carrots
peeled and chopped3/4 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Tsp Orange Zest
1 Inch Piece Ginger
gratedSea or Kosher Salt, to taste

  1. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the orange juice, orange zest and ginger.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Cook until carrots are tender and orange juice mixture becomes a glaze.
  5. Serve.

Roast Brussel Sprouts (Serves 4)

2 Cups Brussel Spouts, halved
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
¼ Tsp Kosher Salt
¼ Cup Raw Sliced Almonds
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the brussel spouts, olive oil and salt on a sheet tray and toss to combine.
  3. Bake the brussel sprouts cut side down for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove and top with sliced almonds and bake an additional 5 more minutes.
  5. Place the roasted brussel sprouts and almonds in a bowl, top with parmesan cheese and the juice of half a lemon.
  6. Serve.

Catherine McCord launched Weelicious in 2007, providing a solution to parents’ hectic lives by showing them how to cook recipes that are kid-friendly, quick and nutritious. With a background in culinary arts from New York City’s prestigious Institute of Culinary Education, and a passion for food, Catherine has developed recipes that appeal to a range of ages. Weelicious focuses on educating kids and involving them in the process with how-to cooking videos featuring Catherine’s own two children.